While it remains to be seen how well Ranbir Kapoor will physically transform into Sanjay Dutt on screen (Ranbir has already said that he will have to gain weight for his role), director Rajkumar Hirani is positive that the actor will play Sanjay Dutt well internally onscreen.
Explaining why he chose Ranbir Kapoor to play Sanjay Dutt, Hirani said, ” Ranbir Kapoor knows Sanjay Dutt well and he knows all his stories. Internally he will play him well and within five minutes if the audience are hooked onto the film, it will not make a difference as to who is playing what in the film.”
Commenting on the finer aspects of casting for a biopic, Hirani drew parallels with Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and went on to narrate an anecdote about how he ended up discovering the actual height of Mahatma Gandhi.
“Whenever you make a film on someone, you won’t get a face that looks hundred per cent like him. Even when the film Gandhi was made, Ben Kingsley didn’t look hundred per cent like Gandhi. His height was not the same as that of Gandhi. When we were making Lage Raho Munnabhai, Dilip Prabhavalkar was chosen to play Gandhiji.
We had done all the research about the way Gandhiji dresses, talks and all other things that we could find out about the leader through tapes. The one thing where we got stuck was when we tried finding out the actual height of Gandhiji. We had intially thought we would cast someone of that height. We read a lot of books.
Abhijat Joshi who was born and raised in Ahmadabad read a lot of Gujarati books too but nowhere could we find a mention of Gandhiji’s height and we went ahead with Dilipji. Two years ago, I was invited to Yerwada jail where prisoners were staging a play in which Sanjay Dutt was also taking part. There I got to see the cell where Gandhiji was imprisoned. It has now been converted into a museum. There a paper was framed which was the record book in those days. This book used to record the name, address, height and weight of every prisoner brought in.
And it is here I learnt the actual height of Gandhiji which was 5’3,” said Hirani.
Hirani also made it clear that only the important portions of Sanjay’s life would be touched through the biopic. “When you make a biopic, the life of the person is so vast that it cannot be shrunk into three hours. I loved Gandhi. It was a beautiful film. However, Gandhi’s personal life was not touched in the movie. Similarly, even in Sanjay Dutt’s biopic we will only touch those portions which we feel are important.”